Paleos show their true colors

Saturday, March 11, 2006
Fred Barnes discusses the rise of the Paleocons and their effect on Hispanic voters. I don't think it is just the Hispanic voters they will run off in 2008 if they are given free reign. Republicans can forget the modest gains in the African American community and if I am left to chose between someone like Buchanan and someone like Bayh...well let's just say I ain't makin any promises either.

Barnes notes the following:

PATRICK BUCHANAN, COMMENTATOR AND former presidential candidate, looked over the issues on the political agenda in 2006 and liked what he saw. It was a paleoconservative's delight. There was the Dubai ports deal, rejected by a congressional uprising part nationalistic, part isolationist. There's immigration, soon to be debated on the Senate floor and always high on the paleocon list of concerns. Excessive government spending, a worry of all conservatives but especially paleocons, is a major topic this year. And the intervention in Iraq and President Bush's crusade for democracy face sharp criticism, with paleocons in the lead among the critics.

It's a paleo moment in America. "It's a little bit late," Buchanan says. He'd rather it had occurred in 1992 or 1996, when he ran for the Republican presidential nomination, or in 2000, when he ran as the Reform party candidate. Chances are, the moment won't last. But it's a moment that could be politically painful for the president and harmful to Republicans in the midterm election in November. The paleocon message is not an electoral winner--unless you believe voters are eager to hear ideas that are gloomy, negative, defeatist, isolationist, nativist, and protectionist.

Buchanan is the big dog among paleocons. His message, were he to run again for president, he told me, would be: "Secure the borders, stop exporting jobs, and bring the troops home" from Iraq. I'm afraid many would interpret that message: Keep Mexicans out, forget free markets and free trade, and shrink America's role in the world. That's not an optimistic message.

It's not that these views are illegitimate. They're part--a small part--of the broad conservative coalition in America. And paleocons themselves are easily gathered under the big tent of the Republican party. The problem comes when they influence the party in ways that threaten the narrow Republican majority.

And they do this in several ways. One is to attack Bush on issue after issue. This weakens the Republican base and, potentially at least, reduces voter turnout. Republican voters dismiss criticism by Democrats or the media, but they pay attention when other Republicans zing Bush, or when they attack congressional Republicans, for that matter.

When I saw that George Will and William F. Buckley had taken off the gloves with Bush I was reminded of why it was that I refused to vote for Republicans for so long.

It is not that I am some naive liberal who believes that government can fix everything, I do not...but I do believe in democracy and in the liberation of oppressed people. I believe in the free and open exchange of goods and ideas.

It seems to me that a lot of paleos believe in making the best deal with the worse people because in their hearts they do not believe that all men are created equal. They like stability and if that means mass graves for people like the Iraqis...well, those folks are all barbarians anyway.

A friend of mine told me long ago that the Republicans would only keep their majority for a little while because everytime they gain power the right wingers start thinking they run the show and ruin it for the rest of them. I guess we will see if my buddy was right or not.

In Addition: This is why I voted for Bush and continue to support him: This is Bush's response to how it feels to be compared to Hitler.

So thank you for bringing that up. I appreciate it. People say to me, my buddies in Texas, “How do you handle all this stuff?” After a while you get used to it. {laughter} But you have to believe in what you’re doing, see? You have to believe in certain principles and beliefs and you can’t let the public opinion polls and focus groups cause you to abandon what you believe and become the reason for making decisions.

hat tip the Anchoress


CF said...

Forget the Jews, too, and we are just starting to see more Jewish Republicans. Don't leave me to the big bad Dems..

terrye said...


No kidding.

Seneca the Younger said...

Remember Pat Buchanan's speech in the 96 convention?

Syl said...

I think what bothers me most is that some Reps simply stay home instead of standing up. If they don't get what they want then who cares if the Dems take over.

Teaching someone a lesson by not voting at all is just a hissy fit.

When the Dems sit on their hands on election day, it's usually because they think it's hopeless and doesn't matter. But most of 'em would vote for the witch even if they disagree with her.

On the other hand, I admire that various elements of the REP party can argue with one another in public. Heaven forbid the Dems had the courage to do that.

terrye said...


There is nothing wrong with debate, but sabotage is something else.

MHA, back in 96 I would not have watched the Republican convention if you had put a gun to my head. I would hate to see it come to that again.